Yoga apparel chain Lululemon Athletica gets new CEO

Los Angeles TimesDecember 10, 2013 

Chip Wilson, who founded upscale yoga apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica, will resign as chairman next year, the company said while also announcing that it had found a replacement for its outgoing chief executive.

Laurent Potdevin, president of shoe company Toms and a former CEO of Burton Snowboards, will take over from Lululemon Chief Executive Christine Day in January. Potdevin will also become a Lululemon board member.

Day had stayed on with the company to help find her successor after announcing plans in June to step down.

Swapping out Wilson was a more unexpected move.

Board member Michael Casey will become chairman once Wilson resigns, a step he’ll take before Lululemon’s annual meeting in June. Wilson will retain his seat on the board.

Wilson had recently sparked customer rage after saying in a television interview this fall that “some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” in the chain’s popular yoga pants.

The suggestion that patrons were responsible for the company’s most recent round of quality concerns – continued sheerness, pilling after a few wears, and rips – sparked ire on social media and tsk-tsking by analysts.

In the spring, Lululemon had to recall its black yoga pants – which accounted for 17 percent of its sales – after customers complained that they were see-through.

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